Rosberg wary of Red Bull pace

Leave a comment

Nico Rosberg has identified Red Bull as being the team to beat in this weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix following an impressive display from the defending world champions during the second free practice session at Spa-Francorchamps.

Despite suffering from a late puncture, Sebastian Vettel finished quickest ahead of teammate Mark Webber with both Red Bull drivers finishing over three-quarters of a second quicker than their nearest rival, Romain Grosjean. Rosberg could only finish ninth, and he has conceded that it will be tough for Mercedes to win for a fourth time this season at Spa.

“It’s looking a bit more difficult for us here than expected, especially when Red Bull are very strong,” Rosberg said. “It’s going to be difficult to beat them at the moment.”

However, this is a track that Rosberg likes and one that he is confident of doing well at thanks to the improvements made by Mercedes over the past twelve months.

“It’s an absolutely amazing track, and for me especially because our car is so much quicker than last year, maybe some other teams don’t have such a big difference but for us, last year we were nowhere. Now we’ve got a decent car, the difference is just incredible.”

Rosberg was surprised to hear about Vettel’s tire failure towards the end of the session, having not had any major problems with degradation himself.

“For us it was okay, but we need to look into that,” the German driver said.

In Free Practice 2, Mercedes did focus on their long-runs and their sustained pace was on par with Red Bull’s times, suggesting that a four-way fight between Vettel, Webber, Rosberg and Hamilton for the win on Sunday could be on the cards. However, with rain on the cards, that could be all set to change.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
Leave a comment

Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

Follow @JerryBonkowski